The Power of Purpose and Why it Matters for your Brand
Purpose. It gets us up in the morning, drives us through the day, and ensures we go to sleep at night feeling fulfilled. But what has purpose got to do with business? Ask the team at Absolute PR and Marketing and we’ll tell you that, in business, purpose is a force for good.
In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a growing awareness amongst businesses and employees that the pursuit of profit is no longer enough for defining an organisation’s reason for existing. With a new focus on people over profit, companies are discovering that doing good can boost business and employee performance, but most importantly, create a more positive impact on the wider world.
This will be critical as we continue to adapt to changes in our work environments and flexible working practices over the next few years; employees will need to be energised and motivated, and leaders will need to attract and retain talent.
When employees engage with a higher purpose it has been proven to increase the engagement, commitment and pride they feel towards the company they work for. This is just one of the ways in which having a clear purpose underpinned by a vision and shared values can help benefit overall business and employee performance.
Take a recent study published by Harvard Business Review as an example. This study found that companies which had a clearly articulated purpose, experienced greater growth compared to companies which had not defined and leveraged their purpose. Notably, 52% of purpose-driven companies experienced over 10% growth, compared with 42% of non-purpose driven companies. (Forbes).
In our latest blog we explain what purpose is, and why you need it to form a key part of your business’ brand and communications strategy.
What is purpose?
Simply put, a brand’s purpose is its reason for existing – it’s why you do what you do. Whilst it might be tempting to respond to this question with the easy answer, “to make money”, it’s important to remember that purpose and profit aren’t mutually exclusive. They should instead be seen as complementary; profit is the result of doing things right, and purpose is the reason you do things right.
Sure, profit is important, and can contribute to social good, but having a greater purpose beyond profit is crucial. Clearly articulating your brand’s purpose will often require some deeper, more honest thinking and reflection about the wider value your business brings to the world.
Absolute has defined its purpose and how it aligns with its vision and values. In doing so, we are forging new opportunities with brands that share our values and focus on purpose.
Purpose is not new; it has always impacted people and the way we do business. But in recent years, purpose has gained huge momentum, fuelled in part from our experience of a global pandemic. As we begin to face some of the most threatening social and environmental issues of our time, customers are leveraging their purchasing power as a means to bring about positive change for people and planet. Accenture revealed how 64% of Gen Z and Millennials in the UK are looking for companies to take a stand on social, cultural, environmental, and political issues close to their hearts. The same study also showed that 53% of consumers in the UK are choosing to buy from companies that reflect their values and motivations.
This demand for brands and businesses to offer more for people and planet than pure profit means that it’s simply no longer enough to sit on the fence on societal issues. In a world overflowing with choice, being a responsible, purpose-led business may be your strongest competitive advantage, and could help you stand head and shoulders above your competitors. So don’t shy away from shouting about your purpose to your intended audience.
The power of purpose-driven campaigns
It’s safe to say not all brands will know their purpose, and for those that do, many won’t know how to communicate it to stakeholders and wider audiences. Communicating your purpose clearly and effectively is fundamental to gaining widespread support, understanding, and ultimately recognition, thereby building respect and loyalty from your audiences.
For instance, have you noticed that brands currently paving the way in their industries are also the same ones that are leading with purpose over profit? Take leading outdoor clothing company, Patagonia, as a stellar example, which in recent years has revamped its mission statement to incorporate purpose as: “In business to save our home planet”.
Quick to convey genuine action behind this ambitious statement, this global brand has been seen to donate large sums of money to environmental organisations and has given away free clothing to those who need it most.
Then, last year, Patagonia made headlines when founder Yvon Chouinard announced that he would relinquish all Patagonia profits (£2.6bn) to a non-profit organisation to accelerate action against climate change. When asked about the sale, Chouinard reinforced the value of purpose, saying, “Instead of ‘going public’, you could say we’re ‘going purpose’”.
While Patagonia’s actions take purpose-led campaigns to new heights, purpose-led organisations of all sizes can make the difference between being a leading and subordinate brand through their attitudes to their people, planet and profit.
Brands that offer customers more than an attractive product or service, such as an opportunity to feel a part of something greater and more meaningful, are more likely to nurture deeper connections and achieve higher levels of loyalty; both with customers and their employees. The best part is this is something any business, in any industry, can achieve.
Purpose can be used as your brand’s value proposition, an internal anchor that informs everything from product design to pricing, and also as a central cog in your brand strategy. The key to effective purpose-driven campaigns, however, is to lead with honesty, transparency, and to back up all claims with genuine action. Purpose-washing should to be avoided at all costs.
Be purpose-led, not purpose-washed
The increase in ‘purpose washing’ means it’s now more important than ever to get your communications right. With the rise of digital technologies, explosion of social media and rapid dissemination of news, customers now have access to more information about how a company operates than ever before – and that can be particularly perilous for a brand that’s not delivering on it promises.
When communicating your purpose, it’s crucial to remember it’s not just about the why – it’s also about the how; communicating without honesty, transparency and authenticity will ring hollow to your audience and could put your business’ reputation in jeopardy. That’s why we walk the talk at Absolute PR and Marketing, by reviewing and reporting on our commitments to community, cause and climate each year. To receive our annual sustainability report, email email@example.com.
Talk to the experts
Absolute’s purpose is to build brands with purpose, grow reputations, inspire audiences and create positive impact, all for the benefit of our clients, community, cause and climate.
For guidance on defining, clearly articulating, and effectively communicating your business’ purpose, talk to Absolute. Call 01392 680 740 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.